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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ranking the Bowl Games

The general consensus from people I've talked to is that this year's bowl matchups stink. I can't really argue -- there aren't a ton of games I'm really interested in. But rather than simply write off the season, I decided to take a closer look. So, in order from worst to best, is how I'd rank the bowl games this year.

34.) Little Caesars Bowl -- Marshall vs. Ohio. I'd much rather watch "We Are Marshall" while drinking with Frank Solich. This game offers nothing to me.

33.) New Mexico Bowl -- Fresno State vs. Wyoming. Fresno State has the seventh-ranked rushing offense nationally and the 111th ranked rushing defense. So at least with all the running, this game will end quickly.

32.) R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl -- Southern Miss vs. Middle Tennessee. MTSU has a pretty impressive pass rush (first nationally in TFLs, fourth in sacks) so I suppose that's something.

31.) Insight Bowl -- Minnesota vs. Iowa State. Nothing says excitement quite like the ninth-best teams from two overrated conferences. Easily the most boring of any BCS vs BCS games.

30.) International Bowl -- South Florida vs. Northern Illinois. South Florida isn't great, but they're solid. This looks more like an early season tune-up game than an end-of-the-year bowl game.

29.) Valero Alamo Bowl -- Michigan State vs. Texas Tech. Who fell farther from last year's Cap One Bowl, Georgia or Michigan State? Tip o' the cap to Mike Leach, who actually did a nice job of rallying a decimated Texas Tech team to eight wins this year. But it doesn't make this any more interesting of a matchup.

28.) St. Petersburg Bowl -- UCF vs. Rutgers. Rutgers is a feisty team, but they're built on the run. Central Florida has a strong pass rush and is stellar at stopping the run. Three of UCF's four losses came against Texas, Miami and C-USA champ East Carolina. They're not bad.

27.) Outback Bowl -- Northwestern vs. Auburn. Is there anything worse than putting middling, slow-footed Big Ten teams against the SEC? It's always ugly.

26.) Papajohns.com Bowl -- South Carolina vs. UConn. Consider me mildly intrigued. That may be enough for me to actually watch this one.

25.) S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl -- Utah vs. Cal. Two teams that started the year with high aspirations but faded quickly. Remember when Cal was ranked No. 6 in the nation? That actually happened this season.

24.) GMAC Bowl -- Central Michigan vs. Troy. Worth watching just for Dan LeFevour. Central Michigan was easily the best team in the state of Michigan this year. Who would thunk that?

23.) EagleBank Bowl -- Army or UCLA vs. Temple. I like that this is like the NCAA hoops play-in game. Also, as a Philly guy, I'm thrilled to see Temple doing well and will be interested in seeing the Owls and standout running back Bernard Pierce, who rushed for more than 1,300 yards. I remember sitting at Temple games at an empty Veterans Stadium back in the day… you could honestly have played linebacker for them in the second half if you'd asked nicely.

22.) Roady's Humanitarian Bowl -- Bowling Green vs. Idaho. You don't watch for the teams. You watch for the blue field. I like to get really blitzed on rum-and-cokes beforehand just to add to the effect.

21.) Texas Bowl -- Navy vs. Missouri. Missouri allows just 96 yards per game on the ground. Navy averages 278 yards per game on the ground. That's an interesting matchup.

20.) Emerald Bowl -- Boston College vs. USC. Ah, the Emerald Bowl. The Chan Gailey Special. This year, the role of Georgia Tech being crushed by an inferior opponent because they've officially quit on their season will be played by Southern Cal. Enjoy!

19.) Meineke Car Care Bowl -- Pitt vs. North Carolina. The battle of two teams that I never bought into this year, but both showed some promise. Seems like a good matchup, and I'll promise to actually respect the winner.

18.) Champs Sports Bowl -- Miami vs. Wisconsin. I want to like this game because on paper it seems like a good matchup. But it just stinks of a game that neither team plays well and both teams probably peaked in Week 5.

16.) Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl -- Houston vs. Air Force and AutoZone Liberty Bowl -- Arkansas vs. East Carolina (tie). I put these guys here because this should have been Arkansas vs. Houston in the Liberty Bowl if ECU hadn't ruined it. The over/under on that game could have been 308 and I would have still taken the over. I'm angry we can't see it.

15.) Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl -- Kentucky vs. Clemson. Randall Cobb vs. CJ Spiller, a matchup of two teams I could care less about but two players that are among the most athletic in college football.

14.) FedEx Orange Bowl -- Iowa vs. Georgia Tech. If you like matchups of two maddeningly frustrating offenses to watch, you're gonna love this one.

13.) Sheraton Hawaii Bowl -- Nevada vs. SMU. Nevada runs the ball a lot (1st in the nation at 362 yards per game). SMU throws the ball a lot (267 yards per game with June Jones as their coach). Of all the mid-major matchups besides the Fiesta Bowl, this one is easily the most intriguing.

12.) Pacific Life Holiday Bowl -- Arizona vs. Nebraska. Worth watching if only to see Ndamukong Suh, but this pits two pretty solid defenses against each other and two teams both on the upswing. The Holiday Bowl has a long history of pitting two teams about to take a big step forward the next year against each other. I could see that happening again this time around.

11.) AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl -- Texas A&M vs. Georgia. Neither team is particularly good, but you have to admit, it's an intriguing matchup. And tell me you're not curious to see how UGA's D looks without any coaches. I mean, didn't we make the joke that they looked like they hadn't been coached all year before? Now here's our chance to see the real thing.

10.) AT&T Cotton Bowl -- Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss. Dexter McCluster is worth watching all by himself, but this should actually be a pretty good game. Both teams spent time ranked in the top-10 this year, and both disappointed a bit for different reasons. It'd be better with Dez Bryant, but it'll be good no matter what.

9.) Konica Minolta Gator Bowl -- West Virginia vs. Florida State. So long, Bobby. I hope you go out with an absolutely hysterical and crazy post-game interview with Holly Rowe.

8.) Brut Sun Bowl -- Oklahoma vs. Stanford. Two teams capable of putting up a lot of points. Toby Gerhart is amazing. If Andrew Luck wasn't doubtful for the game, this would easily be in my top five.

7.) MAACO Las Vegas Bowl -- Oregon State vs. BYU. A matchup of two top-20-caliber teams. Not a sexy game, but will probably be an awfully good one. I also love that BYU always plays in Vegas for its bowl. Nothing like a hilarious juxtaposition during bowl season.

6.) Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi -- Ohio State vs. Oregon. Because who doesn't enjoy seeing Ohio State get another BCS beat down?

5.) Chick-fil-A Bowl -- Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee. Tech is vastly underrated. Tennessee is at least entertaining. Eric Berry should do a nice job of embarrassing Tyrod Taylor, but Tech's defense could have a field day with the Vols, too. There's a lot to like about this matchup.

4.) Tostitos Fiesta Bowl -- Boise State vs. TCU. Yes, I'm interested in watching the game. But no, I am not happy about the matchup. Both of these teams deserved a chance to beat a big boy. It'll be fun to watch, but it would have been more fun to watch them get a real shot.

3.) Capital One Bowl -- Penn State vs. LSU. Marquee matchup that has the potential to actually deliver the goods. Both have good defenses, both have coaches with national championships to their credit, both have been in the top 10 virtually all season. This could be a very, very good game.

2.) Allstate Sugar Bowl -- Florida vs. Cincinnati. I've said all year I think Cincinnati can beat Florida. Now I get to actually find out if I was right. I'm very excited about this matchup. I wonder if Timmy will have an inspirational speech planned or if Florida will fold after the SEC title game loss the way Alabama did last year.

1.) Citi BCS National Championship Game -- Texas vs. Alabama. I think you can make a valid case that TCU deserved its shot here, and certainly you can complain about how Texas played down the stretch. But honestly, this is the matchup people wanted to see all year, and chances are, it really is pitting the top two teams against each other. It might not be Texas-USC with Vince Young and Reggie Bush, but it isn't too far off.

So… which games are you most interested in seeing?

23 comments:

Dave said...

David,

Love your work.

The Gator Bowl is on CBS so we'll miss out on that Holly Rowe interview. I can't say I disagree with you on any of these picks.

It will be interesting to see the "new" Dawg defense. I'd expect a little more aggressive posture to set the tone.

Anonymous said...

David,

Remember what happens to VaTech when they come to the Georgia Dome. They lose vs UGA in the Chick three years ago and this year vs Bama.

You are right about Florida maybe being down, but how can you pick Cincy to beat them when Cincy needed a botched extra point to beat Pitt, a team you never bought into. I think UF will do a number on them.

Anonymous said...

33.) New Mexico Bowl -- Fresno State vs. Wyoming. Fresno State has the seventh-ranked rushing offense nationally and the 111th ranked rushing defense. So at least with all the running, this game will end quickly.

Actually this will allow them to show more commercials. The rules to speed up the game were implemented for that purpose.

Ben Rockwell said...

Looking at this list of bowl, I always kind of laugh at the corporate tie-ins. The Dawgs are in a multi-vitamin bowl, and there's the Konica Minolta (which I thought was out of business) Gator Bowl.

At least the Rose Bowl still has some dignity and is only "presented by Citi" instead of being the the "Citi Rose Bowl". WTH would we have done if Citi hadn't gotten bank bailouts?

bhdawg said...

Well , I guess the AUTO ZONE LIBERTY BOWL IS NOT VERY INTERESTING TO YOU , SINCE YOU LEFT IT OUT COMPLETELY.

BH

JRL said...

Initially I couldn't find much worth watching then you reminded me how much I like rum & coke so I may watch them all - through my rum goggles.

Anonymous said...

BH-
Read it again. This time pay attention.

Anonymous said...

BHdawg

David listed the Liberty Bowl in a (tie) at number 16, please go back and re-read.

thanks

Kevin

John P said...

Konica Minolta will never go out of business. those damn bizhubs are the bomb!

Anonymous said...

With no D coaches, I say we run some variation of the "Wild Dawg" by just letting our D run all around the field and see what happens. 11 men in the box, no men in the box, flying wedge.

GrizzDawg said...

Funny comment about drinking with Solich. Just don't let him give Carlos Dunlap a ride home.

Smitty said...

You are right. These games do suck to varing levels. But when the time comes I'll be watching all of them.

watcher16 said...

So David, what's your prediction on how the SEC will fare in these bowls?

JRL said...

Watcher16 you didn't ask me but I think the SEC will win them all except Kentucky.

Anonymous said...

Next time try "writing" off a season, rather that "righting" as you wrote.

Raleigh said...

Dave - how could Bernard Pierce rush for over 13000 yards and not be a Heisman finalist?

Anonymous said...

Georgia's D without coaching = first half of 1999 Auburn Game.

Can we borrow Joe Kines for the second half of this one too?

Perhaps he can coach both defenses, just to keep it interesting.

Anonymous said...

Raliegh,

Because no one cares about Temple;

or

Pierce's last rush of 11,700 yards happened after the Heisman voters voted;

or

Pierce has never cried on national TV.

Anonymous said...

This is the most crappy slate of bowl matchups that I can remember EVER! What's the deal this year? I can only see about 8 games that I will even watch. Maybe it's the fact that so many of the traditonal "big boys" are down this year, and therefore we get stuck watching the whogivesash#t.com bowl with Also State playing F.U. Tech! As the Braves say, can't wait till next year.

bhdawg said...

Yep guys I scrolled down looking for the Liberty Bowl in bold black letters, Still like it was left out to me lol

bh

PTC DAWG said...

Go Cincy!!

Frankly, it wouldn't bother me if the SEC went 1-9...

That said, KY/UT/and at least 3 more go down.

Lee said...

Lately, the SEC has done well in bowl games, but there's always one team that lays an egg and loses a game they shouldn't. For example, last year the SEC was 6-2 with Alabama laying an egg against Utah. The year before 7-2 with Florida getting egg honors against Michigan. 6-3 the year before with Alabama (OkSU), UT (PSU), and Arkansas (Wisc) losing. I don't remember those teams enough to know if any of those were egg-laying material.

This year, the match-ups are seemingly favorable, but watch out for the egg-laying.

I always watch at least parts of the SEC matchups. None of the other bowls interest me that much. I'll probably check in to see if OSU is getting their annual beatdown and maybe to see if the farm boys can defend the gnats offense...

Anonymous said...

Just found out Thom Brennaman is doing Tebow's last game for FOX.

It should be a riot.

As you read this, you know an emotional video montage on Tebow's career is already being overproduced by FOX.